Information for Parents of International Students
Greetings from Loyola University New Orleans! Your daughter or son is about to embark on a life-changing experience. We know that this is a time of excitement and anticipation for not only your student but also for you. International students have a unique set of needs. The Center for International Education (CIE) is here to not only welcome international students but also to provide the special assistance that they require.
Sending a student away to school is difficult for any parent, but sending a student to school in a foreign country is often even more difficult. This section tries to address many of the issues that will be most important to a parent.
Application & Admissions
The Office of Admissions at Loyola assists international students with the application process. Click here to read more about International Admissions Requirements.
Once your student is admitted to Loyola, our office, the Center for International Education (CIE), creates an I-20 immigration document, which he or she can use to apply for a visa. Click here to read more about the visa application process.
To read more about immigration matters related to your student, visit the International Student section of the website.
International Student Orientation
International students are required to attend International Student Orientation and parents of international students are welcome to attend. At the orientation, your student will receive information that he or she needs to know about how to stay in legal immigration status, adjusting to Loyola and New Orleans and much more.
He or she will also have the the opportunity to meet fellow international students and take part in some social activities. Click here to read more about International Student Orientation.
Once International Student Orientation is finished, your student should be sure to attend the New Student Orientation held for all students at Loyola. Parents are welcome to attend New Student Orientation as well.
Life on Campus
Freshmen (first year students) and Sohphomores (second year students) at Loyola are required to live on campus. For many reasons, including keeping expenses at a predictable level and helping your student integrate well into his new community, conveniently and safely, it is best to have him or her start student life in campus housing.
Residence hall staff members work to provide a safe environment, programming for students regarding healthy lifestyle choices, and other programs devoted to ensuring your student has a safe and rewarding experience while living on campus.
Residence halls offer basic accomodations in furnished rooms and meal plans that include a wide array of food choices. All necessary facilities, including laundry services, telephone, and Internet access are provided at little extra cost. Typically, two students share the same room and bathing facilities are shared by all the students on the same floor.
Your student must fill out a housing contract and turn it into Loyola in order to receive a placement in the residence halls. To read more about living on campus at Loyola, visit the Residential Life website.
As with many U.S. students, your student could experience difficulty adjusting due to living with a roommate, cultural differences or academic requirements. The Counseling Center is available to help students with such concerns.
A large variety of foods are offered to fit different tastes and eating habits. However, don't be surprised if your student complains about the food, especially in the first few months at Loyola.
Food is often one of the more significant adjustments that your student will experience as it will be quite different from what he or she eats at home. Many U.S. students are also adjusting to eating different food and not having "home cooking." It is quite common that first-year students gain some extra weight. U.S. students refer to this as the "freshman five" or the "freshman fifteen."
As with many other issues, we urge you to remind your student that an adjustment period can be expected when moving away from home and especially to another country, and we hope that you will encourage them to be patient and open-minded while they are adjusting.
To read about the meal plans offered at Loyola, visit the Dining Services website.
NEW STYLES & METHODS OF LEARNING
Even the best students may need to adjust to new styles and methods of learning when first coming to the United States. There are many reasons for this.
Even those with excellent skills in English may have difficulty adapting to using U.S. American English in a daily setting and in academic environments.
DIFFERENT TEACHING STYLE
Another adjustment difficulty can come from the interactive style that is common in the U.S. classroom. Students who sit in a classroom and take notes on lectures and then put the information on exams will not necessarily be considered good, strong students.
U.S. professors also expect students to interact with them, to produce papers with original thought, and to undertake original research on their topics of study. Many professors use a method of teaching in which the significant points to be expressed are asked of the students through questions and answers instead of being given in a lecture.
Students are expected to come to class having read background material and having carefully contemplated the topics of that course. Many U.S. students also struggle with the greater expectations placed upon them when they begin university study.
Most international students do quite well in their studies once they acclimate to any differences in teaching and classroom styles. However, the staff at the Academic Resource Center and Writing Across the Curriculum can help your student with any academic difficulties.
Expenses & Budgeting
As part of the visa application process, Loyola provided your student with an estimate of costs on the affidavit of support. Your student already has or will need to show to the U.S. embassy financial documentation verifying that he or she has at least that amount of money available.
You should be very honest and realistic about your ability to financially support your student for his or her studies. It is extremely difficult for an international student to find funding to continue studies after entering the U.S. If you aren't confident that you can fund the necessary costs for the entire length of study, it may be better to delay starting your student's study until you are more confident of your ability to cover the full costs. NOTE: U.S. immigration law does not permit international students to work off campus without authorization. Doing so could cause them to fall out of status and have to leave the U.S.
Beyond tuition and fees, supplies and basic living needs, students also have other expenses. Some examples of other expenses:
- Books. The expense of buying textbooks surprises many university students.
- Extra Living Expenses. Your student will need money for basic personal needs such as bathing supplies, materials for washing clothes, and other necessities. Also, for their first few weeks in the United States, they will probably need to buy basics such as bedding, lamps, computer supplies, a cell phone, etc.
- Travel. The cost of trips back and forth to your home during breaks. If your student will stay in the U.S. during long school breaks and over the summer, be sure to allow extra funding to cover those time periods.
- Extra Educational Opportunities. This can include extra coursework on campus that may be available such as courses offered during summer sessions. In addition, some classes may have extra fees (such as in science laboratory courses).
- Entertainment. These expenses can vary a great deal, but it is important to remember that everyone needs to periodically release stress through relaxing activities. Educators around the world believe that the total value of an international education comes not only through coursework but also through learning about a new culture. And to learn about U.S. culture, students need to have enough funding to make it possible.
In general, your student should only carry a small amount of cash, in U.S. dollars, for the first week or two (perhaps several hundred dollars). Travelers will need cash to pay for meals or drinks when traveling, to handle emergencies or delays in travel, and perhaps to pay for transportation from the airport to campus. They may also need some extra money in their first few days to purchase personal items or extra items for their living space.
PAYING FOR UNIVERSITY
- Your student should not carry large amounts of cash with them to pay for school fees. Traveler's checks, bank transfers or credit cards are much safer.
- You should receive a bill from Loyola before school begins. Check with the Bursar's office with any questions about making payment for tuition and other charges.
- If your student is interested in applying for scholarships or loans, they should visit CIE's financial aid website.
For other money purposes, your student should open a bank account. Students often find that opening a checking account and learning how to use and write checks, in addition to getting an ATM (debit) card, is the most suitable method of handling money and payment needed.
The Center for International Education can help your student get a bank account near campus. Sometimes banks ask for a social security number (SSN) in order to open an account, but international students cannot get a SSN unless they have a job, so CIE can write a letter that will help them get an account without having a SSN. Your student will also need to get a letter of enrollment from Student Records.
FEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR EMPLOYMENT
When international students arrive in the U.S. they may work only on campus and only part-time without prior approval. The pay is usually low and helps a student pay for some personal costs or books, but little else.
After completing a full academic year of study, an F-1 student can, in some cases, apply for practical training, which is authorization to gain practical experience through employment in his or her field of study off campus. In order to work off-campus, a student must first apply for work authorization.
Health & Safety
MEDICAL CARE & INSURANCE
The United States health care system is very well-equipped to take care of your student, but it is also very expensive and complicated. It is important that every student have a comprehensive health insurance plan that will help pay the expenses of any needed medical care.
All international students on F-1 and J-1 visas at Loyola are required to have health insurance. All international students are automatically billed and enrolled in a plan provided by Lewermark Insurance that is specifically designed to meet the needs of international students.
Since this requirement is mandatory, all international students will be charged an insurance fee and covered under a policy obtained by Loyola on their behalf, unless proof of comparable health coverage is submitted to the Center for International Education (CIE).
NOTE: International students should not enroll in the insurance plan offered to other students at Loyola called Gallagher Koster.
The Lewermark plan, provided by the Lewer Agency, Inc., offers excellent healthcare coverage and service with low cost to the student, a wide scope of coverage, and easy claims filing. In most cases, the responsibility for filing a claim rests upon the hospitals and other service providers rather than on the students.
The Lewermark plan also gives your student an opportunity to have 100% of his/her expenses covered. As long as an in-network provider (most hospitals in the city are considered “in-network”) is chosen, your student simply pays a “co-pay” of $25-$100, depending on the procedure, and the rest of his/her expenses are covered. Even if an out-of-network provider is chosen, Lewer will still cover 80% of expenses.
If your student has his/her own health insurance and does not wish to purchase the policy obtained by Loyola, a representative of your insurance company must complete a waiver petition form and the coverage must include all required benefits in order to be accepted by Loyola University. If your policy does not meet these requirements, then your student must pay for the international student insurance made available by the university.
In the event that your insurance policy provides all required benefits except medical evacuation and/or repatriation coverage, CIE will remove the insurance charge provided that your student purchase a supplemental insurance policy that covers those benefits.
Two companies from which you can choose are International SOS or The Harbour Group. These plans are $60-70 for 12 months of coverage. In order to have the insurance charge removed, the student must submit a paid enrollment form to CIE by the deadline.
Students must show proof of insurance coverage every school year because policy benefits sometimes change and we must be sure that students are adequately covered by their insurance company at all times. As a result, even if a student submitted insurance information last school year and had the charge removed, he/she must submit proof of coverage this year (and it must be accepted) to satisfy the current school year’s insurance requirement.
To read more about how to use the Insurance plan, visit the health insurance section of the website.
Loyola University works hard to ensure a safe living and studying environment. By following school regulations, participating in school safety programs, and using practical judgment, your student should be safe and free to pursue his or her studies without fear or great concern. To read more about saftey on Loyola's campus, visit the University Police website.
CARS & DRIVING
Many international students want to buy and drive a car when in the U.S. You should consider the following points, and your student should be aware of these issues, if your budget will allow for this expense:
- The streetcar runs just in front of Loyola's campus and on to a number of locations around the city. Loyola also provides free shopping shuttles on the weekends for students to buy any personal items they might need.
- Students sometimes ask us about the price of cars, but it is difficult to answer. A student may have an opportunity to buy a used car from another student for a few thousand dollars or less, but the quality of used cars can be difficult to determine. New cars will obviously be much more expensive.
- In addition to the selling price, taxes and ownership fees can add a few hundred dollars or more to the initial cost and car insurance in New Orleans is normally very expensive. It is against the law to drive in Louisiana without car insurance.
- In addition, your student will need a Louisiana license in order to own a car. To read about applying for a Louisiana license, visit Driver's License section of the website.
- If your student is under the age of 25, it's usually difficult to rent a car. Some car rental companies do not allow it at all, while others require expensive deposits or charge higher rental rates.
Hurricane Emergency Plan
The Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Medico hurricane season extends from June 1 to November 30 each year. Basic information regarding hurricanes can be found at the City of New Orleans Office of Emergency Preparedness website.
If a hurricane is headed towards New Orleans, the University's Emergency Information Line, 504-864-2186, will provide an official, recorded announcement of the latest information on the status of the operation of the university. Official information will also be posted on the Loyola website, explained via campus-wide email, and communicated to local television and radio news programs.
All Loyola students should familiarize themselves with Loyola's Hurricane Emergency Plan. Upon class cancellation due to an approaching storm, all students should evacuate to an area outside of the storm's path.
It is very important that your student have a hurricane evacuation plan. Students who have their own transportation are strongly encouraged to take other students with them. Students without their own transportation should identify, at the beginning of the hurricane season, a person with whom they can evacuate if necessary. Students who live off-campus must make their own arrangements to evacuate.
Most evacuations are of short duration with students returning to the university within three to five days. Students living in the Residence Halls who cannot evacuate on their own will be transported to Loyola's designated evacuation site. Students who evacuate with the school may have to sleep on the floor without air-conditioning and limited resources, so it is advised that they find another way to evacuate if possible.
During emergencies, CIE staff members will continue to check email and will post up-to-date information regarding immigration on the CIE website.
Careers and Work
The Center for International Education is here to help your student pursue work opportunities before and after graduation. To read more about international student employment, visit the International Students section of the website.
Adjusting to a New Culture
International visitors who have spent some time in the U.S. can agree that the culture is not like what is portrayed in so many movies and television shows. Because of the various groups of immigrants over the years, coupled with the diverse and large geographic size, various areas of the U.S. have extremely different cultures and customs.
Your student will likely experience some difficulty adjusting to his or her new environment due to multiple factors, including cultural differences. To read more visit the Adjusting to a New Culture website.
Please refer to the Office of Student Records website for access to lists of important dates and campus resources.
Excerpted from "NAFSA's International Parents Guide: To Undergraduate Study in the USA."